You already know that blogging is one of the most powerful ways to build your business online. You’re also aware that it can be an enormous productivity killer if not done right. But did you know that it's become a deciding factor for many consumers?
In a HubSpot study, it was found that 61% of consumers made purchases based on a blog post and that 70% learned about a company through its blog. Those statistics make it clear that if you're not blogging, your company is missing a huge opportunity.
While you sit on the sidelines, your competition is passing you by. It's time to take the plunge or get left behind. If you're eager to build a successful business blog, acquire new customers and gain meaningful connections, this article will walk you through the process step by step. Ready to get started? Let's go!
1. Get clear
Find your niche
Your first step is to define your topic and find your niche.
Understand Your Passion
- What topic or niche are you deeply passionate about?
- What would you do for free?
- What would you spend every minute of every day doing if you could?
Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don't let anyone limit your dreams. - Donovan Bailey
Stay laser focused
Readers want to know what they’ll get every time they land on your blog. If you bounce from one topic to the next, you’re going to find it difficult to build a following. Get hyper-specific about who your target market is and what type of content they’re looking for. Once you do this, you can produce content (and a product) that's specific to their exact needs.
This is your blog. Own it. Don’t constantly repost someone else’s work. If you want to stand out, you need to create original content. Find your why; understand your mission and vision and then work to express that in your own words.
2. Uncover your unique voice
We talk a lot about authenticity and transparency in the online world. Both are equally important and no longer optional but rather requirements if you want to build credibility and authority. People will quickly sniff out anything that feels inauthentic.
Remember that blog you visited only to find out that they didn't practice what they preach? You never returned, right? Don't be that blogger. Be genuine in your actions and interactions.
If you take a sincere interest in others, they’ll take a real interest in you.
Try this exercise
Talk out a post as you write it. Instead of worrying about how it sounds as you write, go back and edit later. Overthinking a post can lead to hard-to-read and often boring articles. Allow your personality to shine through instead of inhibiting your true voice.
Even if you’re writing about something serious, it helps to infuse your writing with something fun or entertaining. Don’t be afraid to keep your writing and tone light. While you might write about serious topics, there’s no reason you can’t inject a little humor every once in a while.
While this one should go without saying, I’m going to throw it out there anyway. No one wants to read another carbon copy blog. Sure, it can be tempting to imitate your favorite writer, especially when you’re first getting started. However, I guarantee you’ll find far more blogging success if you can carve out your own unique space within a crowded blogging world.
3. Select your tactics
As I said, it’s a busy online world. To capture the attention of fast-paced readers, keep your domain name and design simple. The days of flashy, crowded designs are over. Today, clean and fresh designs stand out. Translate the essence of your business through a sleek, but simplistic design and lightweight theme.
Match your blog and domain name
Finding the right domain name is a crucial piece to building a successful blog. Do your research, understand the keywords people are using to find your product or service and then keep your blog and domain name consistent.
Make it your own
Being similar to someone else is unoriginal and lacks the unique flair needed to stand out online. It can also label you a copycat and create havoc within the search engines. Avoid this by putting your own unique spin on everything you do. From content to visuals, everything across your blog should scream YOU.
Pick a Content Management System
- Sift through your options and choose what's best. This is one of your single biggest decisions. Don't take it lightly.
- There are a lot of options, but if you're blogging for business, WordPress is your best choice in my opinion. It's flexible and user-friendly, no matter the business.
- Make your decision based on functionality and needs. What will you need from your blog and how do you want it to look?
- Hosting is an enormous decision and should be discussed with a professional. There are a lot of options to choose from. Understand what they are and how they will best support your growing business.
4. Grow your presence
Create a schedule
Whether it’s every day, three times a week or every other Monday, find what blogging schedule works best for you. You can’t expect to grow your readership if they never know when you're going to post.
Stick to It
If you create a consistent posting schedule, readers will know what to expect. Let them know your schedule and keep them coming back for more. And don't forget to use email to notify your readers. Sending out a quick "here's my latest post" email will keep your blog top of mind.
Make it easy
Don’t make your readers sign up for something or sign in to engage with you. That’s just annoying. If you put up too many roadblocks and make it difficult to interact on your blog, readers won’t come back and they definitely won’t get involved in the conversation.
Respond to comments and emails
The feedback you get is one of the most valuable parts of blogging. Take the time to respond to comments, making it a part of your blog schedule. You will make the greatest connections and, most likely, meet some really terrific people along the way.
5. Use visual aids
A great smartphone is all you need to get started. A DSLR will take your pictures to a whole new level. Whatever the case, integrate visuals into your blog!
Try taking a how-to angle in your area of expertise, as these are the most searched and viewed. Videos are an excellent way to connect with your readers, share your personality and expand on topics relevant to your consumers.
We see them all over the web. Infographics are powerful and have the ability to draw people in quickly.
Not all of your feedback will be positive. While it might be tempting to get a little snarky in your reply, avoid rude comebacks. If you have to, walk away and come back later. Always respond with a clear head and a positive mindset.
Claim your handles, build your community and amplify
Make sure everyone can follow you everywhere easily. Whether they spend their time on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter or Pinterest, know where your audience is hanging out and be sure to show up there.
Get face to face
- Network at events
- Link to other bloggers
- Comment on your favorite sites
- Email your favorite writers and bloggers for a deeper connection
- Follow them on Twitter
- Attend a blog conference
- Offer to guest post on your favorite site or blogs that publish similar content
- Perfect your elevator pitch
The benefits of building your business through blogging are significant. From improved brand awareness to increased reach and profitability, blogging can be a huge boon to your business. But at the end of the day, no blog succeeds overnight. It requires commitment, vision and a willingness to go the extra mile. Even on those days, you feel less than inspired. If you're excited to get started, don't let anyone derail your dream. Dive in, have fun and enjoy blogging about what you love!
Grab the infographic here (and pin it for later)
Infographic courtesy Visual.ly
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.